Ear to the ground

“A little mix of Hornitos and Cytomax can make Coal Bank Pass go down oh so much easier.”

-A local rider with no podium aspirations on doing the Iron Horse in high style

Beneficial suffering

Two days. Eighty miles of alpine singletrack. Twelve-thousand feet in total elevation gain. Suddenly the ride to Silverton isn’t sounding so rough.

If this sounds like your idea of the perfect, two-wheeled weekend, the Colorado Trail Jamboree may be the thing for you. The jamboree – a benefit for the Jimmy Heuga Center, which supports people and families with multiple sclerosis – will take cyclists along an epic 79 miles of Colorado Trail singletrack.

Riders will meet at Molas Pass at the crack of dawn on July 14, where they will embark on the first leg of the ride, which takes them to Hotel Draw. There, support vehicles will meet them with camping gear, and food and refreshments for a night of celebrating and recovery. The following day, the ride continues south into the La Plata Mountains, over the infamous Kennebec Pass and to the proverbial finish line at the Junction Creek Trailhead. Then it’s straight off to Carvers for a 5 p.m. post-ride party to celebrate the experience of riding perhaps the finest stretch of alpine singletrack on the planet.

Each participant must raise a minimum of $250 in pledges and/or direct donations, which will be used to fund scholarships to Four Corners residents to attend the Heuga Center’s “Can Do” program. As an added bonus this year, “Bicycle Bob” Gregorio, recent Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, will be riding and on hand to help with wrenching. For more information or to register, visit www.ctjamboree.com.

RAAM returns

Just as the Iron Horse draws to a close, another major cycling event is already on the local horizon. One of the most grueling athletic events in the world will make a local stopover in the middle of next month. The fabled Race Across America (RAAM), a 3,000-mile cross-country cycling race, will again pass through Durango in mid-June.

The 2005 race starts in San Diego on June 10 and finishes in Atlantic City on the week of June 18. In all, successful RAAM competitors will climb more than 109,000 feet, cross 14 states and pedal 3,047 miles.

Sleep-deprived and struggling racers will be in the Four Corners region after crossing California’s Coast Range and making their way through the Mojave and Painted deserts. Riders will eventually find their way to U.S. Hwy. 160 and drop from Hesperus into Durango. The 2006 route will make for a third Durango stopover as well as a third visit to “RAAM’s classic trio of mammoth passes.” From Durango, cyclists will tackle Wolf Creek, La Veta and Cuchara passes before rolling into the windy plains of Kansas.